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Be a Child, Always

Be a Child, Always

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Sometimes I ask myself, “Who is this G‑d I’m praying to? I can’t see Him. I can’t understand Him. How can I have any relationship with Him?”

And I answer myself with a childhood memory.

As a child, I wanted a bicycle. For months. Real bad. I finally got one for my birthday, which happens to be in October. But in October in Vancouver, where I grew up, it could rain for weeks without stop.

So I asked G‑d to please make it sunny tomorrow, so that I could ride my new bike. Which He did. For which I was very grateful. Because in Vancouver, that’s a miracle.

And if you would have asked me then, “Who is this G‑d? What makes Him G‑d? How do you know He exists?”—none of those questions would have had any meaning to me. All I knew was that He was listening whenever I talked to Him, wherever I talked to him, as long as I really meant what I said. And that if I needed a sunny day, G‑d was the address.

That is all I can tell you about the G‑d to whom I prayed as a child. And that is the G‑d to whom I pray now as an adult.

As Rabbi Shimshon of Chinon put it—so often quoted by the Rebbe, “When I pray, I pray with the mind of a small child.”

Yes, then I was a child. I knew no better. Now I have a mind of my own. Now I’ve read books and written books, studied from teachers and argued with them, sat and contemplated and contemplated again, and then contemplated my contemplations.

And yes, that’s the hardest part of becoming an adult—growing and learning while never leaving the child behind. Because all the philosophy and theology and Kabbalah and contemplations of all the greatest Jewish thinkers is only to achieve some sort of grasp of one thing: Who is this G‑d to whom we prayed as a child?

But we cannot. As soon as we have grasped, He is gone.

And so, when we talk to Him, we put aside all our philosophy and reasoning, all our contemplations and realizations, and we pray with the mind of a small child.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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Renato V. Payuran Philippines April 3, 2017

thank very much for the very meaningful lesson I learned again this day. how I wish to become a Jewish too so that I may learn more of your teachings and be blessed to. may still be blessed with knowledge to continue enlighten us and live the happy living with Hashem. Reply

Anonymous NYC March 5, 2017

This! This! Reply

rajiv rajan Pune India August 14, 2014

So utterly beautiful..Thank you! Shalom! Reply

Mark Preston July 17, 2014

And so I ask for a sunshine filled day.....thankful for rain kissed flowers.....knowing the moisture swept the next day clean to enjoy.

Thank you for sharing Reply

Craig Hamilton Sandwich, MA May 29, 2014

Stages of Belief The atheist in me pondered, "If Gd exists, then why do I suffer so much?" but later when I came to believe with the heart of a servant, through miracles the gateways to the heavens where opened. Reply

Yehoshua Yerushalayim May 27, 2014

rebirth of Israel in Eretz Yisrael: proof that prayer works Recently, while in Israel, someone said something that affected me deeply. "The most obvious, tangible proof that prayer works is the rebirth of the Jewish nation in Eretz Yisrael." All of our davening focuses on renewing our national life in Eretz Yisrael. For 2000 years, this was the fanciful wish of delusionary and naive people, you might have said. Only a simpleton, only a foolish child could believe that one day Jewish life would again thrive in the land of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya'akov. And yet . . . here we are! Am Yisrael chai! Reply

Anonymous Plano May 27, 2014

Someone asked Mother Theresa if she spoke to G-d, and she answered "All the time." The follow up question, "Does He speak to you?" And she responded, "No, He listens." Reply

Anonymous McLean, VA May 27, 2014

REF.: BE A CHILD - ALWAYS & GET ALPHA BRAIN This is truly beyond your imagination to get an Alpha Brain
just by being a fun child.
Lots of innocence and lots of rewards too!
The Greatest Power is the Power of our Subconscious Mind. Once we understand this and learn to use the power within us, we can create wonderful changes in our life. We can achieve many goals. How can we access this power of our Subconscious? Is there a Key? Yes. The Alpha Level of our mind is the key. Reply

ary israel May 27, 2014

Talking to God As a child I always thought that talking to God is an issue for great Rabbis and all the serious people around the pulpit and the Tora cabinet...
Only when I grew older I understood that talking to god is a private friendly and sometimes desperate phenomenon.
My first "face to face" discussion was when my small baby girl was seriously ill.
He accepted my arguments....it was also the first live miracle I witnessed. Since then we talk. Other miracles occurred.
All my soul and being including the child in me are involved on those talks. if you talk to God but you cant feel that the conversation is happening it's because you are not talking to Him. Reply

Avrohom Brooklyn NY May 27, 2014

ONENESS, LOVE, MYSTERY. To Chanoch: When we teach children about G-d, it has to be in context which is practical that which they can relate to in their own lives. ONENESS, LOVE & MYSTERY is illusion to children not practical. Reply

Peter Sundwall sweden May 26, 2014

the wonder of childhood When as a child one stopped and looked at a high tree and maybe a bird nest up there in the bare branches one could feel the vast world that He created.
The same feeling I get knowing that He brings brings us all together through Hashem a knowledge based on experience as an adult but with the same root as the jewish child.
I´m very thankful for Rabbi Freemans commentaries....Blessings Reply

Gila May 23, 2014

Beautifully written and true, thank you. When I was a child I would talk to G-d, if I was outside the wind would stop and it would be quiet. I always knew G-d was there.
Even in the most difficult of times when reason did not reach the dark recesses I knew I was not alone. The strength and belief formed in my early days have carried me all my life. Shalom. Reply

Craig Hamilton Sandwich, MA May 19, 2014

A Deeper Relationship In Adulthood The Gd I knew as a child became unacceptable to me in college, such that I became an atheist. As a child, I was mistaken about Gd based upon what people had told me. The Gd I knew as a child was incapable of describing reality. There was no justice, as I had been taught, “Eye for an eye,” was always wrong. I did not know the Gd described in the Shema, one capable of great anger, etc. Now, as an adult I have a much deeper relationship with Hashem. Reply

David Levant Emerson,NJ May 18, 2014

Children pray as children, they are innocent. Men pray as men. Reply

Anonymous May 16, 2014

The Holy One,Blessed be He. The L-rd is faithful and righteous.Our G-d is full of compassion. My favorite part of the day is when I get to pray, cry before HaShem.I get such profound joy and strength to face life. I love the child in me, I thank G-d that no matter how cruel my existence has been,He puts a smile on my face.Thank You G-d for hearkening to the voice of Your children. Reply

Rut Alonim May 16, 2014

Be a child I always enjoy your commentaries, thank you for bringing a smile to my day, Reply

Rachel Texas May 16, 2014

Be A Child, Always Thank you....as adults we complicate things, but going back to childhood ...enhances HaShem. Reply

Anonymous Canada May 15, 2014

Be achild always Thank you for such a great post. I always think of myself as a child when I pray to God. Reply

Chanoch Miami Beach May 15, 2014

Be a child, always Why not give our children a better and more intelligent approach to God than "one who gives us gifts. Teach aboout ONENESS, LOVE, MYSTERY. This takes more time and effort than the typical parent wants to commit. We should be like a child. A child who is steeped in the mystery and love of God and parents and humanity. Reply

Robert Storovich Southern California May 15, 2014

Be a child always Profound, very profound. It brought tears to my eyes. So simple and sincere. Thank you for the great articles over the years. Reply

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